So, after last week’s Part 1 post I couldn’t help myself and went on Booko over the weekend to finally order Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries and Tender Vol 1, plus Rose Bakery’s Breakfast, Lunch, Tea. Naughty I know, but after so many recommendations how could I not? Besides I am excusing flagrant cookbook buying behaviour as an upcoming birthday present(s) for myself. Anything to justify more cookbooks for a bookshelf already groaning under the weight of more than my fair share. I tell you though, I felt a whole lot better about the situation when I saw Rodney Dunn’s cookbook collection (above). No matter that he is a former Editor for Australian Gourmet Traveller and owner of the beautiful The Agrarian Kitchen just out of Hobart, Tasmania. My collection is measly in comparison. Let temptation lead us astray once more with recommendations for favourite cookbooks by some of the internet’s loveliest foodie and design bloggers, with this, Part 2.
When I get my hands on a new cookbook it is never far from reach for at least the first couple of weeks. After a quick flick-through at the shop, I impatiently wait for a solid block of time back at home where I can devour each page without interruption. Then it will stay on my desk for a few weeks to refer back to when trying some recipes. Then it moves to the bookshelf where, when I get a moment, I will pick it up and open at a random page to refuel on some inspiration or keep going back to the tried and tested recipes. I love to totally immerse myself in the author’s style and story. This is why I particularly enjoy reading cookbooks with lots of background, or beautiful location photography and kitchen imagery. Novels (especially the travel genre) with recipes included have always appealed to me too, for this very same reason.
Cookbooks. My love for them knows no bounds. And it seems I am not alone. I’ve asked some all-round stylish foodie & design bloggers about their favourite cookbooks (that’s Lucy Feagins of The Design Files cookbook shelf in the first picture). And what great sports they have been! Check out the photos they took of their collections or absolute favourites. It seems cookbook love is universal and everyone is more than willing to share a recommendation. In this case their two favourite cookbooks, which, as one said, is like asking someone to name their all-time favourite album.
About as close as I got to yoghurt growing up was the chocolate confection known as YoGo. I remember trying real yoghurt for the first time as an early teen and wondering how there were so many passionate lovers of the stuff given it’s acidy, sour taste. How things change. I persisted and weaned myself off sugars and flavourings to the point where I was more than happy to eat plain yoghurt with a little honey and sliced banana every morning for breakfast. In fact, I was quite addicted to the stuff.
One of my New Year’s To-Do’s was to start making more of those recipes that require practice to become skilled at. This week I decided to have a crack at sweet short crust pastry, or pâte brisée (pronounced paht bree-zay). I came across a few recipes and then remembered my husband is a big fan of custard tart – which was perfect for all the left over yolks I had from making meringue a few days earlier.
If my past experience with pastry has taught me one thing it is to be prepared. I make sure I have all the right ingredients and all my surfaces and equipment are clean and dry. I also allow myself more time than I think it will take. Baking can sometimes have so many steps. I try to bake on a slow morning or afternoon when I don’t have to whizzing out the door to be somewhere else later. Baking can’t be rushed, unless you enjoy being frazzled and disappointed with the result.
In Australia we have the lion’s share of Asian cuisines – think Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai, Japanese, Indian. But last year I was lucky enough to visit New York City where there’s a gamut of South American food that isn’t so common in Australia. I was really keen to get my head around Mexican so it was very convenient to have a taqueria / taquileria (taco / tequila shop!) a block from our apartment. There we sampled a wonderful array of ensalades, ceviches, quesadillas and, of course, tacos that we enjoyed so much we went back another two times. We’ve tried to replicate a few dishes at home without relying on Old El Paso and I’d like to share with you some winners.